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3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

interesting. The hoard of dragon's eggs at Dragon Stone is still missing.

One could also point out that Daenerys Targaryen did not burn back in AGoT. Perhaps Aerys also had the weird certainty/delusion that he would simply not burn?

The dragon transformation idea is at this point just Jaime's speculation...

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

Well, we do not know Varys motivations during the time of Aerys. I believe that those events changed his perspective of things. Which does mean, he meant to die with Aerys, but who knows....

I doubt he wanted to die.

3 hours ago, rotting sea cow said:

and how would he move the bloody jars? The substance is wildly unstable and apparently only the pyromancers know how to handle it properly.

His little birds could have done the job. Especially back immediately after the Sack when the substance was not yet as volatile or dangerous it grows over time. Keep in mind that fresh wildfire is actually handled by soldiers and men-at-arms in battle.

And if he didn't dare moving it, he could have told the pyromancers to remove it.

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On 11/7/2018 at 10:01 AM, Lord Varys said:

What one should not do is to take Yandel sucking up to Robert or him making mistakes about certain theories of magic as 'confirmation' that he is equally biased or wrong about certain historical characters - who, by and far, should only be of real interest to historians and not the average guy in Westeros.

If by "certain historical characters" you mean high-profile entities from the last few hundred years such as (for instance) Maegor the Cruel, then I agree.  I don't think Robert or his successors would have had much interest in them, and I also think the maesters in the book would have been working from documentation that is more or less accurate.

On 11/7/2018 at 1:54 PM, Frey family reunion said:

it seems clear that Aerys made it fairly clear to Jaime that he expected the sacrifice of King's Landing would transform him into a dragon

The idea is certainly brought up by Jaime, yes.   Yet if Aerys really expected that, it also seems, in context of his other actions, that Aerys would have done it on discovering Rhaegar had lost.

Consider that he, at this point in time, names Viserys his heir, and sends Viserys and Rhaella away. 

Why?  To protect Targ interests, obviously, because he thinks King's Landing is not safe any more. He expects it to fall.  He doesn't think there's anything he can do to stop Robert.

So if at this time, he also expects (meaning >50% probability of succeeding) that he can become a dragon, I can't see why he would wait to do it.   I think he would transform into this unstoppable killing machine, fly off, and then transform Robert and his people into barbecue. 

But he didn't, and that suggests to me that there was quite a bit more doubt in his mind than Jaime knew... though I can still easily picture Aerys ranting about becoming a dragon as a way to reassure himself in a time of looming peril.  (Similarly, I can picture Trump telling himself "Kavanaugh will save me, Whitaker will save me, yessss, yesss, they willlll," over and over at the current time.)

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7 hours ago, JNR said:

If by "certain historical characters" you mean high-profile entities from the last few hundred years such as (for instance) Maegor the Cruel, then I agree.  I don't think Robert or his successors would have had much interest in them, and I also think the maesters in the book would have been working from documentation that is more or less accurate.

Yeah, that's my point. Yandel sucking up to Robert is so glaringly obvious (both in 'The Glorious Reign and also, in part, in the section on the Stormlands and the important foreshadowing being given to the match between Rhaelle Targaryen and Ormund Baratheon) as is his natural interest to actually not antagonize the family of Joff/Tommen's mother that one should not see 'disinformation' wherever it is convenient but rather, more or less, only where it makes sense.

But aside from Bran's new 'objective view of the past' via the weirwoods the memories of all the POVs are faulty, and in that sense there is not that much of a difference between Yandel's book and, say, Pycelle's memories of King Maekar's long summer, or even of the memories and stories about more recent events.

I mean, the conflicting information we have on Rhaegar and Lyanna could just as well have been part of TWoIaF - there is little difference between Robert's ramblings, Ned's quiet thoughts, the stories Dany remembers, etc. At this point they do not present us with a clear picture, either.

7 hours ago, JNR said:

The idea is certainly brought up by Jaime, yes.   Yet if Aerys really expected that, it also seems, in context of his other actions, that Aerys would have done it on discovering Rhaegar had lost.

Consider that he, at this point in time, names Viserys his heir, and sends Viserys and Rhaella away. 

Why?  To protect Targ interests, obviously, because he thinks King's Landing is not safe any more. He expects it to fall.  He doesn't think there's anything he can do to stop Robert.

So if at this time, he also expects (meaning >50% probability of succeeding) that he can become a dragon, I can't see why he would wait to do it.   I think he would transform into this unstoppable killing machine, fly off, and then transform Robert and his people into barbecue.

The fact that all the actual evidence we have of the reasoning behind the wildfire plan (Dany's vision corroborated by Jaime's memories) indicates that Aerys made that decision after the Trident (which is why I originally suggested that it makes less sense, in my opinion, to assume Aerys burned Chelsted before the Trident because he wouldn't have yet been hell-bent on burning the city) makes it actually rather odd for us to buy this transformation idea.

Jaime links that idea to Aerion Brightflame who apparently drank wildfire to transform into a dragon - he did not burn anyone in the process of that ritual (or whatever it was) as far as we know, and while there are hints that Aerion always thought of himself as a dragon in human form (which clearly seems to be a delusion he developed because he had too much/too pure a dose/to twisted a strain of 'the blood of the dragon') we have no such hints for Aerys.

If Aerys believed he could become a dragon like Aerion he may have experimented with drinking wildfire, too. More importantly, he would have been more visibly obsessed with that particular notion rather than leaving Robert only ruins and ashes.

That remained in KL rather than removing himself to Dragonstone, too, also fits more with an apocalyptic setting than a 'survival as dragon' setting, because it makes sense for a mind as twisted as his to be there and actually see how the fire devours everything.

If he had a delusion/strange premonition in relation to the inferno then I think him mimicking Dany and actually believing the fire would not touch him and he would live through the inferno like Daenerys the Unburnt survived Drogo's pyre is actually a much more convincing idea.

After all, it was clearly some 'madness' - a strange and completely irrational urge or drive that caused Dany to jump onto the pyre being convinced that nothing would happen to her. It wouldn't be surprising at all if other Targaryens (Aerys, Aerion, etc.) developed similar notions, and possibly only small mistakes in the overall setup of 'the ritual' prevented them from achieving what Dany did.

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17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

the memories of all the POVs are faulty, and in that sense there is not that much of a difference between Yandel's book and, say, Pycelle's memories of King Maekar's long summer

Neither the World book or canon is perfect, that's certainly true.  GRRM, with his two degrees in journalism, has done a good job consciously introducing unreliable narration in both.

Yet the canon is full of first-person observation, whereas the World book has none.  And that's all the difference in the world for us as analysts.

Consider Ned's trip to the crypts with Robert.  We know, for sure, that the crypts are cold, because Ned was there in person (and we're in Ned's head).   So we don't need to trust some maester, who has never actually been there and doesn't really know, that the crypts are cold.

We get every word of the dialogue, exactly as it was exchanged.  We even get some of Ned's literal thoughts.  We don't know the ideas in the dialogue or thoughts are correct... but we're still given a much better class of info than a maester would have about this, and more accurate.

Imagine Robert told Pycelle what happened with Ned in the crypts, and Pycelle wrote some version of it down... or Pycelle gleaned it in any other way.  That would be similar to what the World book provides.  And that account would not be as accurate or useful to us as the POV chapter we got, IMO.

17 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

the conflicting information we have on Rhaegar and Lyanna could just as well have been part of TWoIaF - there is little difference between Robert's ramblings, Ned's quiet thoughts, the stories Dany remembers, etc. At this point they do not present us with a clear picture, either

Yes indeed, very true.  GRRM puts us essentially in the position of being an investigative journalist who has interviewed numerous people about something.  No two sources said exactly the same thing, so we must be extremely careful as we try to arrive at and publish our conclusions.

I just think it's helpful to know exactly what they all really said, and what some even thought, because we were actually sitting there in a POV character's head at that time.  The account of a maester who wasn't there lacks that level of certainty.

Edited by JNR

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8 hours ago, JNR said:

Yet the canon is full of first-person observation, whereas the World book has none.  And that's all the difference in the world for us as analysts.

Well, it has some firsthand accounts on Oldtown, Yandel's life (in the preface) and in relation to all the sources and texts Yandel himself has actually read. They do *exist* and have been assessed and cited by him.

8 hours ago, JNR said:

Consider Ned's trip to the crypts with Robert.  We know, for sure, that the crypts are cold, because Ned was there in person (and we're in Ned's head).   So we don't need to trust some maester, who has never actually been there and doesn't really know, that the crypts are cold.

We get every word of the dialogue, exactly as it was exchanged.  We even get some of Ned's literal thoughts.  We don't know the ideas in the dialogue or thoughts are correct... but we're still given a much better class of info than a maester would have about this, and more accurate.

Of events in the present this is certainly true, but then - a history book written from the POV of a protagonist would work more or less the same way as Yandel's book - and would be pretty much as vague and unclear about events far away and in the distant past as TWoIaF is.

8 hours ago, JNR said:

Imagine Robert told Pycelle what happened with Ned in the crypts, and Pycelle wrote some version of it down... or Pycelle gleaned it in any other way.  That would be similar to what the World book provides.  And that account would not be as accurate or useful to us as the POV chapter we got, IMO.

That would really depend. There are many good epistolary novels out there. And George actually uses a trick there, deliberately having his characters not mention everything they perceive, think, or remember whenever they do. Else we would know much and more about key mysteries we actually do.

In that sense, both the characters and the narrator are unreliable to no small degree.

 

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On 11/11/2018 at 2:37 AM, Lord Varys said:

Jaime links that idea to Aerion Brightflame who apparently drank wildfire to transform into a dragon - he did not burn anyone in the process of that ritual (or whatever it was) as far as we know, and while there are hints that Aerion always thought of himself as a dragon in human form (which clearly seems to be a delusion he developed because he had too much/too pure a dose/to twisted a strain of 'the blood of the dragon') we have no such hints for Aerys.

Though it isn't known in what circumstances exactly Aerion drunk that wildfire, and whether he did it intentionally. I think, that, maybe, his own wife gave him wildfire under pretence of something else, like wine, or whatever. He was drunk, and was drinking more, and instead of another cup of wine, Daenora gave him a cup of wildfire.

Aerion was a sadist, and he was 10-12 years older than his wife. We know how badly he treated other people, including his family (what he did to Aegon). So it's more than likely, that Aerion was raping and beating his wife. Daenora gave birth to her son, Maegor, in 232. And Aerion also died in 232. So it seems likely, that when Daenora has find out, that she's pregnant, then to protect her baby, she killed her husband. And then she said to other Targaryens, and to people from their household, that Aerion has intentionally drunk that wildfire, because he belived, that it will transform him into a dragon. But, obviously, other Targayens realised, that this story is not what really happened. Because if they thought, that thru wildfire dragonseeds could be transformed into dragons, then they would have tried this method long ago. They would have rather had one less child, and one more dragon, in exchange for him/her.

So general public thought, that Aerion has intentionally drunk a wildfire, to transform into a dragon. But Targaryens knew, that it was a lie. Thus, Aerys also knew, that wildfire won't transform him into a dragon. Did Aerys himself said, that wildfire will turn him into a dragon, or was it entirely Jaime's own speculation? Because if that is so, then Jaime's thoughts, about Aerys' possible plans, were based on that fake cover-up story about Aerion.

Also it seems more likely, that even though Aerys was planning to burn KL, he didn't planned to burn with it. He was going to escape thru secret passages from Red Keep, and to sail to Dragonstone.

Edited by Megorova

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I don't think there is any reason to believe that Aerion did drink his wildfire unintentionally. This is wildfire, we are talking about, you cannot disguise that well in wine or any other drink.

And if Daenora or any other person wanted to poison Aerion they would likely use a proper poison and not wildfire.

The story as such implies Aerion was hanging out with some of his drinking buddies and suddenly developed or acted upon the mad notion that drinking some wildfire would transform him into a dragon. Whether that's the full story or not we don't know at this point, but I doubt there is some strange conspiracy behind this. Using wildfire to transform yourself into a dragon is so far out there that no sane person trying to harm or kill Aerion would have come up with such an idea.

As for Aerys - I already laid out that we have only Jaime's speculation that Aerys thought the inferno would transform him into a dragon.

Edited by Lord Varys

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The Aerion we meet was a cruel and entitled asshole, but I don't get the impression he was nuts, at least at that time. It's possible he deteriorated over time, like Aerys, but the only really mad thing we know is his mad final act to drink wildfire apparently believing it would transform him into a dragon. I wouldn't be surprised if Aerion was troubled by dragon dreams, and misled by his interpretations of them. 

"He is always with the red woman, and . . . he is not in his right mind, I fear. This talk of a stone dragon . . . madness, I tell you, sheer madness. Did we learn nothing from Aerion Brightfire, from the nine mages, from the alchemists? Did we learn nothing from Summerhall? No good has ever come from these dreams of dragons, I told Axell as much. My way was better. Surer. And Stannis gave me his seal, he gave me leave to rule. The Hand speaks with the king's voice." (ASOS: Davos III)

"I see them in my dreams, Sam. I see a red star bleeding in the sky. I still remember red. I see their shadows on the snow, hear the crack of leathern wings, feel their hot breath. My brothers dreamed of dragons too, and the dreams killed them, every one. Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half-remembered prophecies, of wonders and terrors that no man now living could hope to comprehend . . . or . . ." (AFFC: Samwell III)

I could see Alester's statement being more figurative, so that he may or may not be claiming that these acts were done by people who had dragon dreams. But Aemon's statement seems to be pretty explicit that all of his brothers (Daeron, Aerion, Aegon) dreamed of dragons, and the dreams killed every one of them. We know from TMK that Daeron did. And we know from TWOIAF that Aegon V did, as he apparently became obsessed with bringing back dragons.

So it seems likely that Aerion dreamed of dragons, and that Aemon sees those dreams as being somewhat responsible for his final mad act/death.

 

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13 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

The Aerion we meet was a cruel and entitled asshole, but I don't get the impression he was nuts, at least at that time.

Aerion is very sane and capable on the surface in THK, but it is implied he feels personally insulted and humiliated by the play because he sees himself as a dragon in human form.

That is not normal.

But what little we know of Aerion's later years puts him more in the Daemon/Aemond/Maegor territory than the Rhaegel or Aerys II territory, so I'd not describe him as mad as these two - at least on the basis of our present knowledge. Could be he deteriorated more in the Rhaegel/Aerys II sphere, but if that was the case we have yet to learn about that.

The crucial difference between Aerys II and Aerion is that we have actual evidence the latter thought of himself as a dragon in human form. That's not confirmed for Aerys II. And while that's the case I don't think we should swallow Jaime's notion completely that Aerys II just tried to emulate Aerion with his grand fire - not while Aerys could have still just wanted to burn everyone instead of leaving his city and throne to the usurper. Or while he could have wanted to hatch some dragon eggs in the process or live through the fire in human form because he had the same feeling that this would as his daughter did in AGoT.

Edited by Lord Varys

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@Lord Varys

Just to be clear, my comment was only about Aerion, not about whether Jaime's comments about Aerys reflect something Aerys actually believed. I am not certain what I think about that, particularly after Rhaegar was dead.

But I feel pretty certain that Aerys had no intention of losing the war or dying any time soon when he had the pyromancers place the wildfire, and that Rhaegar had no intention of losing the war or dying any time soon when he rode off to the Trident.

As for Aerion, I don't think there is any evidence for your assertion that, "it is implied he feels personally insulted and humiliated by the play because he sees himself as a dragon in human form."

According to Baelor, Aerion spun it as a veiled attack on House Targaryen, and an incitement to revolt. These interpretations might be overly sensitive and paranoid, but are at least conceivable interpretations, and certainly don't require Aerion to have viewed himself as a dragon in human form.

"Egg will tell him, I have no doubt," said Prince Baelor, "but the boy has been known to lie too, as you have good reason to recall. Which son will my brother believe? As for the matter of these puppeteers, by the time Aerion is done twisting the tale it will be high treason. The dragon is the sigil of the royal House. To portray one being slain, sawdust blood spilling from its neck . . . well, it was doubtless innocent, but it was far from wise. Aerion calls it a veiled attack on House Targaryen, an incitement to revolt. Maekar will likely agree. My brother has a prickly nature, and he has placed all his best hopes on Aerion, since Daeron has been such a grave disappointment to him." The prince took a sip of wine, then set the goblet aside. "Whatever my brother believes or fails to believe, one truth is beyond dispute. You laid hands upon the blood of the dragon. For that offense, you must be tried, and judged, and punished." (THK)

 

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3 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

But I feel pretty certain that Aerys had no intention of losing the war or dying any time soon when he had the pyromancers place the wildfire, and that Rhaegar had no intention of losing the war or dying any time soon when he rode off to the Trident.

It is pretty clear that Aerys apparently had no issue burning with his city when he rambled about Robert being the king of ashes. And a massacre-suicide like that fits the profile of many a megalomaniacal ruler. Aerys did remain in KL and made no intention of leaving the Red Keep even when he was commanding the inferno to start. This indicates that he had no issue to be there when the fire engulfed him.

3 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

As for Aerion, I don't think there is any evidence for your assertion that, "it is implied he feels personally insulted and humiliated by the play because he sees himself as a dragon in human form."

It is implied by Aerion's anger. We do know he thought of himself as a dragon in human form. A person less, well, obsessed with the dragon thing would have reacted much more nuanced when chancing on Tanselle and her play.

3 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

According to Baelor, Aerion spun it as a veiled attack on House Targaryen, and an incitement to revolt. These interpretations might be overly sensitive and paranoid, but are at least conceivable interpretations, and certainly don't require Aerion to have viewed himself as a dragon in human form.

I know what Aerion told Baelor. But do you think Aerion telling Baelor he felt personally insulted by the play because he saw himself as a dragon in human form would have helped his case with both his uncle and his father? I don't think so. Baelor himself confirms that Maekar may follow Aerion's reasoning there. Aerion is not stupid - as his later insistence on a Trial of Seven also shows. It was his attempt to get Dunk convicted without him ever fighting in a trial-by-combat. Or do you buy his claim that he did that to give his beloved brother a chance to get his revenge, too?

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I don't think there is any reason to believe that Aerion did drink his wildfire unintentionally.

Though in Daenora's family there was already an "accident", some sort of unspecified mishap, that happened to her brother, Aelor. So it could be a clue from GRRM, that in that family something fishy was going on, and Aerion's death was also fishy.

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

This is wildfire, we are talking about, you cannot disguise that well in wine or any other drink.

Though if he was already drunk, and he wasn't the one, who was refilling his cup/goblet, and he wasn't looking, what exactly is he drinking, then it is possible, that he has already made a gulp or two from that cup, before he has realised what's in it.

Like in this movie - they poured blue-colored drain cleaner into untransparrent mug, so the girl didn't noticed what was she going to drink.

Or if a small dose of wildfire was adden into wine, and amount of wine was notably exceeding amount of wildfire in that cup, then the color and consistency would have looked, as if though it was just a normal average wine, even though actually it was a deadly substance.

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And if Daenora or any other person wanted to poison Aerion they would likely use a proper poison and not wildfire.

Though using wildfire, to kill someone like Aerion, would have been very ironic. Maybe, his wife has specifically chosen this method of killing Aerion, because she wanted to make him suffer. And I think, that, probably, drinking wildfire is more harmful, than drinking some poison, such as Tears of Lys, or a Strangler from Asshai. Also, most likely, she wanted to kill him fast. Because she was afraid of him. If she would have used some poison to kill him, and he would have felt sick, he could have realised, that he was poisoned, and, even without knowing for sure, who exactly has poisoned him, he would have wanted to kill his wife, before he would have died from that poisoning. Because he was a sadist. So if he realised, that he was dying, he would have made other people to suffer too. 

Wildfire is a perfect method to kill Aerion - it's fast, highly effective, and would cause to him a tremendous pain. The perfect payback from his wife.

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Using wildfire to transform yourself into a dragon is so far out there that no sane person trying to harm or kill Aerion would have come up with such an idea.

She didn't gave him a wildfire under pretence, that it will tranfsorm him into a dragon. She gave him it under pretence, that it was a normal wine. She killed him, and then told to others, that Aerion himself has drunk a wildfire, because he thought, that it will transform him into a dragon. Obviously, that people from Targaryen household, those that knew, what kind of person Aerion was, and how he treated his wife, and, probably, his other people too, they have also realised, that she lied to them, that she killed Aerion. But because no one was going to miss that creep, they let her to get away with a murder. And they supported her version of what happened, because she was pregnant, and she was family, while he deserved it.

I think, that his death being actually a murder, is highly likely, because of the time of his death (when his wife was pregnant, and thus would have been set on protecting herself and her baby from Aerion's abuse); and because nowhere else in ASOIAF's history, besides this incident with Aerion, it wasn't mentioned anywhere, that anyone thought, that wildfire can have some sort of magical properties, that can turn a dragonseed/Valyrian into a real dragon; and because the only thing, that GRRM has revealed about Daenora, is that she gave birth to her and Aerion's son, in the same year as Aerion has died, and that in her own family, when she was younger, has happened some sort of mishap, between her brother and his sister-wife, that has led to his death in unknown circumstances <- after combining those three things, it becomes obvious, that Aerion's death, most likely, was a murder. There's a reason, why GRRM has placed specific information into the World book and ASOIAF's books, and has left some things out. So what he has revealed about Aerion's family and about his death, and what he has left out, are both clues, to what really has happened.

I get it, that you don't like speculative theories, but it doesn't mean, that they all are incorrect.

Edited by Megorova

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is pretty clear that Aerys apparently had no issue burning with his city when he rambled about Robert being the king of ashes. And a massacre-suicide like that fits the profile of many a megalomaniacal ruler. Aerys did remain in KL and made no intention of leaving the Red Keep even when he was commanding the inferno to start. This indicates that he had no issue to be there when the fire engulfed him.

As I said, "I feel pretty certain that Aerys had no intention of losing the war or dying any time soon when he had the pyromancers place the wildfire, and that Rhaegar had no intention of losing the war or dying any time soon when he rode off to the Trident."

Jaime places Aerys's command to the alchemists to place caches of wildfire all over King's Landing after the Battle of the Bells and before Rhaegar rode off to the Trident:

He floated in heat, in memory. "After dancing griffins lost the Battle of the Bells, Aerys exiled him." Why am I telling this absurd ugly child? "He had finally realized that Robert was no mere outlaw lord to be crushed at whim, but the greatest threat House Targaryen had faced since Daemon Blackfyre. The king reminded Lewyn Martell gracelessly that he held Elia and sent him to take command of the ten thousand Dornishmen coming up the kingsroad. Jon Darry and Barristan Selmy rode to Stoney Sept to rally what they could of griffins' men, and Prince Rhaegar returned from the south and persuaded his father to swallow his pride and summon my father. But no raven returned from Casterly Rock, and that made the king even more afraid. He saw traitors everywhere, and Varys was always there to point out any he might have missed. So His Grace commanded his alchemists to place caches of wildfire all over King's Landing. Beneath Baelor's Sept and the hovels of Flea Bottom, under stables and storehouses, at all seven gates, even in the cellars of the Red Keep itself.

"Everything was done in the utmost secrecy by a handful of master pyromancers. They did not even trust their own acolytes to help. The queen's eyes had been closed for years, and Rhaegar was busy marshaling an army. But Aerys's new mace-and-dagger Hand was not utterly stupid, and with Rossart, Belis, and Garigus coming and going night and day, he became suspicious. Chelsted, that was his name, Lord Chelsted." It had come back to him suddenly, with the telling. "I'd thought the man craven, but the day he confronted Aerys he found some courage somewhere. He did all he could to dissuade him. He reasoned, he jested, he threatened, and finally he begged. When that failed he took off his chain of office and flung it down on the floor. Aerys burnt him alive for that, and hung his chain about the neck of Rossart, his favorite pyromancer. The man who had cooked Lord Rickard Stark in his own armor. And all the time, I stood by the foot of the Iron Throne in my white plate, still as a corpse, guarding my liege and all his sweet secrets.
(ASOS: Jaime V)

Jaime places Aerys's statements about Robert being the king of ashes not only after they had received word of Rhaegar's death at the Trident, but after 

"My Sworn Brothers were all away, you see, but Aerys liked to keep me close. I was my father's son, so he did not trust me. He wanted me where Varys could watch me, day and night. So I heard it all." He remembered how Rossart's eyes would shine when he unrolled his maps to show where the substance must be placed. Garigus and Belis were the same. "Rhaegar met Robert on the Trident, and you know what happened there. When the word reached court, Aerys packed the queen off to Dragonstone with Prince Viserys. Princess Elia would have gone as well, but he forbade it. Somehow he had gotten it in his head that Prince Lewyn must have betrayed Rhaegar on the Trident, but he thought he could keep Dorne loyal so long as he kept Elia and Aegon by his side. The traitors want my city, I heard him tell Rossart, but I'll give them naught but ashes. Let Robert be king over charred bones and cooked meat. The Targaryens never bury their dead, they burn them. Aerys meant to have the greatest funeral pyre of them all. Though if truth be told, I do not believe he truly expected to die. Like Aerion Brightfire before him, Aerys thought the fire would transform him . . . that he would rise again, reborn as a dragon, and turn all his enemies to ash. (ASOS: Jaime V)

But even after the Trident, I am not sure we can be certain that Aerys necessarily intended to die, even if he was willing to as a last resort. Even after Rhaegar's death, he kept Elia and the children close because in doing so "he thought he could keep Dorne loyal," and when Tywin showed up professing his loyalty, he was convinced by Pycelle to open his gates.

And even after Tywin and his men were inside the gates, and he had issued the command for Rossart to execute the plot with the Lannister men inside the gates, it isn't at all clear that Aerys actually intended himself to die in it:

"It fell to me to hold the Red Keep, but I knew we were lost. I sent to Aerys asking his leave to make terms. My man came back with a royal command. 'Bring me your father's head, if you are no traitor.' Aerys would have no yielding. Lord Rossart was with him, my messenger said. I knew what that meant. (ASOS: Jaime V)

When Aerys saw the blood on his blade, he demanded to know if it was Lord Tywin's. "I want him dead, the traitor. I want his head, you'll bring me his head, or you'll burn with all the rest. All the traitors. Rossart says they are inside the walls! He's gone to make them a warm welcome. Whose blood? Whose?" (ASOS: Jaime II)

Aerys's threat for Jaime to follow his command or "burn with all the rest" is pretty ridiculous if Aerys envisioned Jaime burning "with all the rest" either way. And Aerys's statement lacks any indication that he actually intended himself to burn "with all the rest." One can argue that that that is because he thought he would survive it, or thought he would become a dragon, but that's all speculation, not anything that is clear.

So what you believe to be "pretty clear" is far from clear. Possible? Perhaps. Clear? No.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is implied by Aerion's anger. We do know he thought of himself as a dragon in human form. A person less, well, obsessed with the dragon thing would have reacted much more nuanced when chancing on Tanselle and her play.

There is no such implication. That is entirely your interpretation. What we know is that he is claimed to have believed, while in his cups, nearly a quarter of a century later, that drinking wildfire would transform him into a dragon. And we know that a prince or king doesn't need to believe he is an actual dragon, or anything other than what he is, to seek to punish someone for doing something they felt offended or insulted by.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I know what Aerion told Baelor. But do you think Aerion telling Baelor he felt personally insulted by the play because he saw himself as a dragon in human form would have helped his case with both his uncle and his father? I don't think so. Baelor himself confirms that Maekar may follow Aerion's reasoning there. Aerion is not stupid - as his later insistence on a Trial of Seven also shows. It was his attempt to get Dunk convicted without him ever fighting in a trial-by-combat. Or do you buy his claim that he did that to give his beloved brother a chance to get his revenge, too?

In other words, there is no evidence for your assertion, and there is evidence against your assertion, nevertheless, you think it makes more sense to explain away the thing that there is actually evidence for.

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@Bael's Bastard

I'd suggest you do more proper research before accusing me of making things up:

Quote

Prince Daeron gave a weary shrug. "Egg has the truth of it. Aerion's quite the monster. He thinks he's a dragon in human form, you know. That's why he was so wroth at that puppet show. A pity he wasn't born a Fossoway, then he'd think himself an apple and we'd all be a deal safer, but there you are."

That is from THK. I did not interpret. I cited the interpretation of Aerion's brother who knew him most likely better than you, no ;-)?

As for the Aerys thing - I told you all repeatedly that I think it makes little sense for Aerys to prepare for the apocalypse while there was still a good chance of winning. Perhaps his madness made him focus on such nonsense while there was still a good chance of winning - I don't know. I still find it pretty odd that Chelsted would object as strongly as he did to some emergency plan. Why did that moron risk to be burned over the hypothetical that the king would burn the city in case Rhaegar lost?

You have a point with Aerys' last words there. But then, if there was indeed wildfire beneath the Red Keep (perhaps there were no fruits there, after all, or Aerys did not intend to ignite wildfire under his castle - after all, he sends Rossart to ignite the wildfire in the city, not that beneath his castle) or he intended to flee, or he thought he would not burn, or he thought he would transform into a dragon.

Overall, though, the fact that Aerys was still in the city implies he must have been willing/expecting to die. He chose not to flee with his wife and son, and that's more a commitment to possibly die than him going to Dragonstone or in exile, even, although being as mad as he was he may not have been aware how courageous he was ;-).

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@Megorova

I'm open to the possibility that people plotted against Aerion and that there is more to his accidental death than meets the eye, but at this point I'm not willing to entertain the notion that his wife (or anyone) tried to poison him with wildfire.

In fact, I could see someone pushing Aerion into going through with this mad quest, and I'd not be surprised (or rather: would like it) if Aerion actually used burning wildfire for his strange attempt there.

Daenora would have been very young when Aelor died, and what we know about that implies it was an accident involving his sister-wife Aelora, not Daenora.

Daenora would have as much to do with that as Tommen with Joff's cruelty, or Tywin with Tytos' weakness.

Little Maegor - getting his name from his dad - must have already been born by the time his father died, and one assumes Aerion was rather positively inclined towards his wife at that time considering he finally had a male heir.

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Even Old Nan is aware of the dragon in human form thing:

Quote

"Aerion the Monstrous?" Jon knew that name. "The Prince Who Thought He Was a Dragon" was one of Old Nan's more gruesome tales. His little brother Bran had loved it.

"The very one, though he named himself Aerion Brightflame. One night, in his cups, he drank a jar of wildfire, after telling his friends it would transform him into a dragon, but the gods were kind and it transformed him into a corpse. Not quite a year after, King Maekar died in battle against an outlaw lord."

Considering that it is Jeor Mormont summarizing Aerion's story for us - who has been confirmed to have been mistaken about the kinship of King Aerys I and his queen Aelinor Penrose - things might indeed be more complex than Mormont's little tale about 'one night, when Aerion was in his cups'...

The theme of his story is Maester Aemon, not his various relations.

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

@Bael's Bastard

I'd suggest you do more proper research before accusing me of making things up:

That is from THK. I did not interpret. I cited the interpretation of Aerion's brother who knew him most likely better than you, no ;-)?

@Lord Varys

We know that Daeron claimed that Aerion "thinks himself a dragon in human form,"

We don't know that Aerion actually thought himself a dragon in human form.

With no further context about what Daeron is basing his claim on, or whether he was being serious or sardonic, we can't even say that Daeron actually believed that Aerion thought he was literally a dragon in human form, let alone that Aerion thought that.

The issue is that you didn't even bother to acknowledge that this is just a claim by someone other than Aerion, and instead, take for granted that this is what Aerion actually thought, and make assumptions accordingly, as if it is something "we know."

That is not the case.

And you are doing this in the very same thread where you are calling into question Jaime's claim that, "Aerys thought the fire would transform him . . . that he would rise again, reborn as a dragon, and turn all his enemies to ash."

You don't take for granted that "we know" Aerys actually thought "the fire would transform him," etc. just because Jaime said so, yet you take for granted that "we know" that Aerion thought himself "a dragon in human form," just because Daeron said so.

All in the same thread.

I am not going to take for granted Daeron's claim as reflecting what Aerion literally believed, especially when Baelor indicates to us what Aerion actually claimed his issues were with the puppet show. We can argue about whether or not he was lying, but we have no claim on his part that he thought he was a dragon, beyond how all Targaryens think of and refer to themselves.

14 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

As for the Aerys thing - I told you all repeatedly that I think it makes little sense for Aerys to prepare for the apocalypse while there was still a good chance of winning. Perhaps his madness made him focus on such nonsense while there was still a good chance of winning - I don't know. I still find it pretty odd that Chelsted would object as strongly as he did to some emergency plan. Why did that moron risk to be burned over the hypothetical that the king would burn the city in case Rhaegar lost?

You have a point with Aerys' last words there. But then, if there was indeed wildfire beneath the Red Keep (perhaps there were no fruits there, after all, or Aerys did not intend to ignite wildfire under his castle - after all, he sends Rossart to ignite the wildfire in the city, not that beneath his castle) or he intended to flee, or he thought he would not burn, or he thought he would transform into a dragon.

Overall, though, the fact that Aerys was still in the city implies he must have been willing/expecting to die. He chose not to flee with his wife and son, and that's more a commitment to possibly die than him going to Dragonstone or in exile, even, although being as mad as he was he may not have been aware how courageous he was ;-).

I don't doubt that Aerys might have been willing to die at the end. But all those weeks earlier when he had the pyromancers place the wildfire, I don't think he had any intention of Rhaegar going off to lose and die, or his city being captured and him dying.

I think others who have suggested that the wildfire might have originally been placed to, in Aerys's mind, give him leverage against whomever won (whether Rhaegar or Robert) might be on to something. I can see Aerys having little to no trust in anyone or anything, other than his ability to use hostages against those he distrusted but needed.

I'm actually a little surprised he didn't use threats against Jaime to demand Tywin join his forces to Rhaegar's. Or perhaps he did, in the summons he sent after the Battle of the Bells.

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@Bael's Bastard

When you dismiss Daeron's assessment of his brother - which is not just a speculation like Jaime's musings about the inner workings of Aerys' heart - why do you believe Aerion did actually want to transform himself into a dragon with the wildfire? Do we have any tangible firsthand evidence for that tale?

Daeron states what he thinks is a fact. He is Aerion's older brother and he knew him from birth. Aerion may actually have told Daeron that he thought he was a dragon in human form. Daeron doesn't say that, but he doesn't qualify his assertion there by saying 'I think' or 'in my opinion' or even 'I'm convinced'. He just says 'He thinks he is a dragon in human form'. And then reinforces that by adding a 'you know', to make it clear to Dunk that he isn't just giving his opinion there.

Baelor did not grow up with Aerion nor did uncle and nephew live at the same place. His assessment of Aerion is less relevant than Daeron's.

Jaime doesn't do anything like that in relation to Aerys. He goes on a long tirade offering Brienne his own views on what Aerys may have thought or believed about his future, but since Jaime never knew Aerion that's not particularly relevant. If Aemon or Pycelle made such a comparison it could be relevant.

And for the Rhaegar-Aerys thing I need more data. I'm done building castles of snow on a flimsy textual basis. This leads nowhere without good information from George - and there are plenty of POVs (Jaime, Connington, Selmy) who could cast better light on the relationship of father and son prior and after Harrenhal and especially during the Rebellion and after Rhaegar's return.

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48 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm done building castles of snow on a flimsy textual basis.

Apparently not, as you have made all sort of assumptions in that very same post about what Daeron and Jaime knew, making arbitrary distinctions without basis. But hey, if you're saying you, a prolific speculator on these boards, are no longer going to speculate about anything in this series, I'd love to see you try. :D :cheers:

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